Sweetpea. When you first hear the name, what comes to mind? Flowers? Girly? Light? Lot’s of lols. Never judge.
I first connected with Sweetpea at Hospitality about seven years ago. It’s amazing how the love for good music can bring people together. Over the years, I have marvelled watching the shock on peoples faces when their expectations are blown away by the dark rolling bass lines that blast from the speakers, sent out to the world by Sweetpea. You want to grab on to your mate, get low and to pull the sexiest bass face ever? Listen to some Sweetpea vibes.
Sweetpea is most definitely a bringer of the positivity and anyone who has ever listened to her sets or seen her play out, knows the score. Her mixes never fail to liven up the crowd and you can literally feel the love from the ravers projecting from all around.
So give peas a chance and expect big things from this one in 2015.
I quote a line from a poster I once saw in the plants section at Homebass (not base)
“Celebrate the year of the Sweetpea”
How long have you been DJing now Sweetpea?
It will be 14 years this year. I first tried mixing at a family friends house when I was 12. I loved mixing vinyl for a very long time.
Do you miss playing out using vinyl?
I do miss vinyl loads! I used to spend £100 a month on wax! There was something of an art to mixing with vinyl, it was all about touch and feel. Playing out started becoming more difficult for me (the cost of vinyl adds up, un-serviced decks, crappy needles and the shear weight of all the vinyl) so in the last year or two I’ve made the switch to CDs, although still enjoy a good vinyl mix. I think its great to see vinyl only nights popping up because everyone still respects that side of DJing. I guess with the whole Sync argument it’s nice to see people ‘actually mixing.’ Simply Vinyl in Brighton has been going for quite a number of years now and has an amazing vibe. Grooves has recently started at Plan B and on their first ever night had the basement packed out by 11pm! I’ve also heard Synergy Events are looking to go vinyl only for this year.
You first started mixing garage but what drew you to the drum and bass scene?
I still enjoy picking out some of my old garage vinyls to have a mix at home but definitely after my first drum and bass rave. I knew this was music I was going to enjoy. My first rave was Hospitality at Heaven nightclub and I did enjoy more liquid sounds before I discovered the darkness, and before I found The End.
Hospitality was your first rave and where we first met Sweetpea.
Yes Yagga 🙂
We’ve had some good times at The End. There have been a lot of popular clubs closing in London recently, what are your thoughts about that?
I think it sucks so many places are closing so quickly. Clubs make a legacy and a vibe that will never be forgotten. I feel lucky to have been a part of certain clubs that have closed now. I think it shows the state of the economy and also how higher powers are trying to get rid of the arts and culture scene with closures, cuts and whatever else. I know Cable’s closure was a little bit controversial with Network Rail. Although, it does pave the way for new clubs that you may have never been to and I’m seeing more studio/warehouse parties coming through, which does give a completely different feel to a night.
What are your favourite club nights at the moment?
Soul in Motion, Flexout, Nurtured Beatz, Different, Samurai, Launch, Grooves, innerSoul, Simply Vinyl, Renegade, Fizzy, Exit and Critical.
What’s been your favourite nights or sets you’ve played at so far?
I really enjoyed playing at Electric Brixton for the Spectrum nights a few years back, the system in Room 1 was second to none – proper bass in your face! I loved playing at Soul in Motion, again, the sound system was crisp and the vibe in the basement is really nice. I think my favourite set ever has to be a B2B I did with Hyroglifics at Flexout last year, crowd was amazing and despite having two very different styles it worked really well, we just rolled off each other nicely and that’s how playing back to back should be.
Being a female in the DJ business, I’ve witnessed you getting questioned about your gender often. How does that make you feel and how do you respond to repetitive and predictable gender questions? (Such as “How does it feel to be a female DJ”)
Gender is a question that comes up regularly, but not often by people in the scene.
I guess stereotypically you consider drum and bass to be a male dominated scene, but just because I have boobs doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it any less than the next person. Learning to DJ (which back then was on vinyl) was an art that took time and practice, just like any other person.
I guess maybe it does look visually different when there is a female behind the decks, but if you do it well and hold the crowd, more power to you.
There are loads of women coming through and have been around for a long while, look at Storm, Flight, Tasha, Nyx. Plus there are a lot more ladies behind the scenes within drum and bass as well. I think in this day and age it shouldn’t be such a big deal, but for some reason it still is.
Why aren’t there more female DJs??? There are… you’ve just got to do your research and look. Big love to Medika, Iris, Kyrist, Cursed, Soltice, Kez Soul Culture and Vitty Dubs!
Who are were your influences? Do you have any favourite labels, DJs or producers?
When I first started out I really liked Shogun Audio – early Icicle, Alix Perez and the Assassins EP’s were my favourite. I’ve been a constant follower of Dispatch and Ingredients Records and have pretty much their whole back catalogue on wax. I’ve always really rated the Amoss boys, as producers and dj’s they’ve smashed it from day one. I also love seeing DJ Tasha’s name at nights out. I guess having the same name and her being female really inspired me in the early days.
We seem to live in a world of labels Sweetpea. If a stranger asked you to describe your DJ-ing “style” what would you say?
I guess I don’t niche myself into any particular sub-genre or style of DnB. I enjoy it all, from liquid to halftime. I like to mix it up and play a bit of everything at radio as I have 2 hours to play, but when I play out I do tend to play more dance floor vibes. I love a good rolling bass line 🙂 But it’s all about connecting and reading your crowd.
Do you sometimes adapt to suit different audiences?
I think you have to feel out your audience, it depends on what night you are playing at and what time you’re playing. I feel nights are better when they build up and take you on a journey.
I’m lucky enough to play to people with the same taste in music as me so I don’t change at all but a few years back I played to people that had never heard underground DnB. Those sets were a little more lighter, although I did school people with some tunes and introduce them to sub heavy bass lines 🙂
If someone asked you, what is the difference between commercial and underground drum and bass, what would you say to them?
One is good and one is shite haha. No all joking aside, if it weren’t for commercial dnb I would have never got into the scene. We all have to start somewhere. I guess most people hear dnb from older siblings, family members or like me on the radio. Shy Fx Shake Your Body was a firm favourite of mine and around the time I started raving the Pendulum Hold Your Colour album was not long out.
I can’t say that now, I don’t listen to commercial dnb (or jump up anymore for that matter) but we all grow and progress differently so each to their own.
You’ve been at Rude FM for four years now, tell us about your time there.
It’s amazing playing on Rude, the whole crew involved are amazing! I always used to listen to the station when I was younger. It feels great to have the opportunity to play to people all over the world.
We have regular listeners from the USA and Europe and it’s been going for 23 years now, one of the longest running stations in London. Plus, I love finishing up my week at work with a couple of beers and a good mix.
In a nutshell, sum up what 2014 bought in your direction.
I got to play at some really amazing nights including Flexout and Soul in Motion last year. My 2 highlights have to be mixing on Baileys Ministry of Sound show and getting to play at Boomtown Festival. I also started taking production a lot more seriously last year and during the summer was in the studio with PRTCL a lot.
What can we expect from Sweetpea in 2015?
At Christmas PRTCL and myself had some collaborative tunes signed to Terabyte Records, so they will be released in the next few months and I also have a solo project I need to get finished up for them. I’m going to be doing more guest shows on RudeFm and was lucky enough to have Interline and Bredren as guests last year.
I guess you can expect more Pea-ness in 2015 🙂
You’ve recently been signed to Empress Artists, woop!
It’s really nice to be alongside Collete Warren, Philth, Hannah Eve and Facing Jinx. I’m very excited to say the least! That really was a great way to start 2015 and all the peeps there are lovely.
Have you got any up coming gigs planned in the near future?
I’m going to be playing at Flexout. They’ll be hosting the basement at Plan B in Brixton for the Samurai night 13th March. Also the next Grooves night 27th March also at Plan B. I’m super excited about that as it’s going to be my first vinyl set out for quite a while. I’m also hoping to be back at Noise London and hopefully another festival this year too.
If you were to give some words of wisdom to a fresh creative out there, what would you tell them?
Take every opportunity as it comes.
Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out or a big ups to?
My crew knows who they are, there are too many names to mention but mostly anyone who’s taken the time to read this interview from start to finish 🙂
Connect with Sweetpea:
Listen to this exclusive guest mix!
Co:lateral – Toetagger
Noisia – Leopard Slug
Denis Underground – Predatory World
Gerra and Stone – Too Deep
Hanzo – U + my bones
Artificial Intelligence ft Sense Mc – Thundercloud
Fierce and Zero T – Gaslight
Skeptical – Imperial
Gamma – Streetheadz
Break – Temptations
Shiver – Solid State
Volatile Cycle – Rupture
Kolectiv – Cell State (Mystic State Remix)
Nausika – Hidden Traits
Roy Green Protone ft Pennygiles – Wake up
Co:Lateral – Underground Immunity
Fearful – XII
Sweetpea and PRTCL – Afterthought
Mystic State ft Gremlinz – Don’t Start
Transparent – Psycho
Bredren – Rotton
Mystic State – Brixton
Clarity – Hells Gate